Thursday, February 26, 2015

My last post?

There is not much point to being an Anglican if Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, since being Anglican is simply a way of being Christian.

But whatever we make of Jesus rising from the dead, there is not much point to being excited by it if the Jesus who rose from the dead was not the one in whom God was reconciling the world to himself.

All the excitement of being Anglican dissipates if there is no God.* Well, no God except Richard Dawkins. If Richard Dawkins is right about the non-existence of God then this blog may as well cease, save for the odd hymn of praise to Richard.

"You, O Great Evolutionist, were right after all" and that sort of psalm could be penned :)

It seems that Richard Dawkins is getting a kind of spiritual renewal in excitement by the prospect of there being no God because, as the headline says, "New theory could prove how life began and disprove God." (To save time I append the key paragraphs below)

On the other hand, perhaps this is not going to be my last post here on the presupposition that God exists. There is a slight problem with the headline!

Theories by themselves do not 'prove' anything. A theory that unicorns exist is only proved when we find a unicorn. It is not disproved when we do not find a unicorn because there is the possibility that we have not looked hard enough for the mysterious creature.

A theory that life began because a series of inanimate objects under the right conditions exposed to enough sunlight necessarily become animate begs the question how the 'right conditions' came about.

If we accept that a (rather large) unicorn could have assisted Earth to be in the 'right' kind of orbit around the sun (compared to, say, Venus and Mars which, notoriously, yield little evidence to date of the magical effects of the sun on their inanimate rocks), then possibly a God of the creating kind could turn out to be the assisting force rather than a unicorn.

If the best the theory can do is prove that God does not need to be invoked to explain the miracle of life, is that novel? I thought the 'God of the gaps' approach to proving the existence of God was already passe.

There is also the question of where the rocks and the sun came from. Their existence does not necessitate God's existence (that would be back to the God of the gaps approach) but does beg the question whether through science alone we can explain the mystery that there is something rather than nothing, that being exists rather than non-being.

I think I'll keep on posting. Any psalms published here will be praising God and not eminent biologists.

Cited from the article linked to above:

"The problem for scientists attempting to understand how life began is understanding how living beings – which tend to be far better at taking energy from the environment and dissipating it as heat – could come about from non-living ones.
But a new theory, proposed by a researcher at MIT and first reported in Quanta Magazine, proposes that when a group of atoms is exposed for a long time to a source of energy, it will restructure itself to dissipate more energy. The emergence of life might not be the luck of atoms arranging themselves in the right way, it says, but an inevitable event if the conditions are correct.
“You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant,” England said.
Paul Rosenberg, writing this week on Richard Dawkins’ site, said that the theory could make things “a whole lot worse for creationists”.
As Rosenberg notes, the idea that life could have evolved from non-living things is one that has been held for some time, and was described by the pre-Socratic philosophers. But England’s theory marks the first time that has been convincingly proposed since Darwin, and is backed by mathematical research and a proposal that can be put to the test."

*A few weeks ago while visiting a nameless city in our fair land, the local newspaper published an article on a notable local person who proudly declared herself to be a church warden of one of our parishes while not being a believer. Yes, I accept, one can be an Anglican and not a Christian!!!!


Father Ron Smith said...

"New theory could prove how life began and disprove God."

This is rather doubtful, Peter, as you and I know! As someone once (wisely) said: "An ounce of experience is worth a ton of theory".

Do keep blogging, though. I appreciate the challenges you rightfully present! I suppose even Mr.Dawkins could become a believer, if only he didn't let his intellectual brilliance get on the way.

Chris Spark said...

And there's always Jesus himself to reckon with - which Dr Dawkins, at least in what I have read, seems rather less apt at than he is in biology.

Unknown said...

I offer Steve Martin's Atheist hymn

"Romantics play Claire de Lune.
Born agains sing He is risen.
But no one ever wrote a tune.
For godless existentialism."

Please do keep blogging.
Jon White

J.W. West said...

I would assume that any existing Christian who'd heard of Pascal's wager would decide it was more prudent to continue to believe, rather than bet their immortal soul on the prescience of Richard Dawkins.

Anonymous said...

Peter, we Anglo-Saxons have never culturally much valued the contributions of intellectuals, let alone born-again atheists experiencing a second baptism; far too practical are we : please keep on blogging. I personally would be interested in some discussion on how we might usefully pray for our brothers and sisters in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Nigeria. I find this quite a challenge. Dawkins I'll possibly read on my deathbed after 100 Christian books I have not yet had time for.


Kurt said...

It's just Dawkins bloviating again. Everyone who comments here believes that God exists and that Jesus is risen. I have never felt a threat to my faith by science. In fact, science shows how wonderful God's creation is.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Father Ron Smith said...

Not much to disagree about here, then! Nick wants to know 'how' to pray for our fellow Christians in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Nigeria. I don't see any real complication with this. The real problem for me is, how do I pray for their persecutors - after the instructions of Jesus and Paul? Jesu, mercy; Mary, pray!

Jean said...

Hmmm... still looking around for those Christian's terrified by the new theory I hadn't heard of : ) ...

As for life maybe not coming from a primadorial soup, well umm I don't think this was a Christian theory anyhow? Let's wait and see what the shinning Light produces. And just what light produces life.


MichaelA said...

Fair comment Ron. As you hint, we do it because our Saviour commands us to do it, but it isn't easy.